Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • October-November 2022 • Circulation 5000

A Winter’s Knight

For sure Edmonton is a winter city. Just as certainly, I’m not a winter person. Spellcheck just corrected “winter” to “winery” which is much closer to where I would like to spend the months that follow December. How am I supposed to be upbeat and positive about a season that has brought stinging tears to my eyes when I needed to commute by foot? I guess one thing would be to cover my delicate parts (I’m thinking ears here) and wear mitts over my gloves. The rest of the formula for me, and maybe you too, to enjoy winter is an attitude adjustment – maybe that takes me back to the winery.

But it’s probably wiser to use the “fake it till you make it” method. Last fall I got a dog. Knight is large and has a thick black coat. He’s equipped for winter both physically and mentally. The sheer joy he exuded when I opened my back door and he saw an expanse of white fresh snow made me accept winter a little more easily. Every day I bundled up in multiple layers and took him for a long off-leash walk. I decided that bracing myself against the cold was futile. I might as well take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air.

It’s well-known that physically mimicking a positive and happy exterior will cause you inner feelings to follow suit. “Fake it till you make it” might just be a really smart way of coping with things that are not exactly the way we would want them. I’m not suggesting that we should be delusional and close our eyes to an unpleasant reality. I think the idea is to improve things as much as we can and simply cheerfully accept what we can’t change, after we’ve done our best to make things better. Like the serenity prayer says: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. What other attitude can I possibly have towards winter ?

Maybe it’s also an opportunity to exercise my humanity and be kind to the less fortunate among us. You can join me, and we can try to give the poor in our community the means to make themselves a little better prepared for winter by donating clothing and money to the hard-working service agencies that take care of the homeless in our neighbourhood. So maybe what I’ll do is take the money I would have spent on that wine and give it to a shelter. Or maybe I can take my dog for a walk and drop off some mitts and toques.

Funny how all last winter I was never really bothered by the cold when I was walking Knight. When I’m busy focusing on others it takes me out of my own skin and it makes everything more enjoyable. I can’t wait to see Knight’s reaction when I open the door to the first snow this year. Maybe I’ll go out and make a snow angel and see how my dog reacts. I bet he’ll join in on the fun.

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.

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